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JAY-Z: Summer Sonic

by Philip Brasor

Japan’s urban rock festival gets more urban every year, at least musically. Headliner Jay-Z, husband of last year’s headliner, Beyonce, and the richest rapper in the world, hasn’t visited Japan often, especially since he came out of retirement in 2006. He and Stevie Wonder are the perfect cappers to this year’s super-eclectic, pop-oriented lineup, which has been cut to two days after last year’s three-day experiment.

Also check out: Other urban acts including Nas (Jay-Z’s former nemesis!), A Tribe Called Quest, K’naan, Keri Hilson, Jason Derulo and Eve; American country singer Taylor Swift, Japanese rock godfather Eikichi Yazawa and Korean boy band BigBang; SS’s usual punk (Offspring), veteran alternative (Smashing Pumpkins, Pixies, Pavement, Hole) and breaking indie (Drums, Girls, Passion Pit).

The setting: In Chiba: a baseball stadium, a convention center with the acoustics of an oil drum, and beach and grass outdoor stages. In Osaka: a man-made island.

When/where: Aug. 7-8. Chiba Marine Stadium and Makuhari Messe, Chiba, and Maishima, Osaka. Tickets: ¥15,800 a day, ¥29,000 for two, in Tokyo; ¥14,500, ¥26,500, in Osaka. www. summersonic.com/2010/english/